When I look back at my time in high school, I realize I was living my life as a clock counting down. Several thoughts constantly beamed through my head: “Only 180 days until the end of freshmen year.”“Only two weeks left to study for my SATs.” “One month left until graduation and then I am out of here.” Regardless of this, I never took some of that time to get involved in any clubs or sports those four years. Upon graduation, I vowed to not live my college life like this and watch the time go by. Instead, I would not focus on that ticking clock and I was determined to become a part of campus life.
During high school, I watched my older sister join Alpha Chi Omega and her life embrace red carnations, music and become a “Real Strong Woman.” Remembering my vow to myself, a sorority would be an excellent way to becoming immersed in college life. As I walked the campus of Stockton University, I kept my eye open for any Greek letter that was proudly worn on another’s shirt or jacket. As Stockton is a small liberal arts college, my options were limited. My roommate was also interested in Greek life and she joined my quest. It was her eye that caught the letters of Alpha Phi Omega and it was her who brought me along to one of their rush events.
Not going to lie, I was a little hesitant going to a rush event for a fraternity as opposed to a sorority. If I were to join, I would have to call my fellow members “brothers” and I was already feeling the headache of explaining that to everyone outside of Greek life, but when I walked through those doors and met the members of Alpha Phi Omega, I stopped looking at the clock that was always counting down. The countdown had frozen. I had found my home.
Alpha Phi Omega is a co-ed service fraternity that focuses on leadership, fellowship and service. Members gather together to do service projects throughout the year to help better the rest of the school, community and world all the while having fun participating in these projects. Everyone is encouraged to step up and run an event, promoting leadership. Even a shy girl like me who did not participate in any activity during high school found the best organization possible to get involved in.
It wasn’t just the characteristics of Alpha Phi Omega that drew me in. The brothers themselves really helped me make a no-brainer decision when I decided to join. What I did not anticipate though when I accepted that bid was to meet someone who has been an incredible role model throughout my college career so far, my Big. She has taught me so much about myself in the past year that she has been a part of my life that I did not even know. With her help, as well as the help of other brothers, I began to get more involved in campus life.
Alpha Phi Omega is a fraternity that encourages members to follow their dreams and to turn them into a reality. A portion of their motto is to “be a leader” and the girl who did nothing in high school developed into someone who became a leader. With the help of my brothers, I became the founder and president of the Digital Writing Club. I was also elected by Alpha Phi Omega to be responsible enough as their Treasurer for the 2015-2016 school year. These are positions that I never imagined I could earn two years ago when I was still a senior in high school.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “to find yourself you must lose yourself in the service to others.” Being a part of a service-based fraternity allows me to lose myself to these service projects. Service projects are not limited to picking up trash off of the side of the road. They are incredibly rewarding opportunities to play baseball with children with disabilities, volunteering at food banks and collecting books to donate to schools and libraries that do not have enough to benefit the community. These rewarding experiences are unable to be measured and I will keep these memories for the rest of my life.
Through Alpha Phi Omega, I have met my best friends. I have also adopted a family of 75 brothers who would support and stand by me during my best and worst times. College is a stressful time in everyone’s life no matter what their major, schedule, or extracurricular activities.
I did not want my college experience to be a clock counting down until the next huge milestone of my life. I wanted it to be an experience that I would take my eye off of that clock and focus on what was happening around me. Joining Alpha Phi Omega made me forget about that countdown in the sense of “oh I cannot wait to graduate and get out of here.” Instead, Alpha Phi Omega has made me wish that countdown would freeze forever because I am nowhere close to leaving behind my 75-member family.